DLC – Downloadable Contentment, or Contention?

Cold, calculated, and eager to go in for the kill at any cost... and we're not talking about Ezio

Love it or hate it, it seems that downloadable games and content are here to stay. Unfortunately, I suspect this has less to do with what gamers want, and more to do with it being an easy and cost effective way to get money out of gamers by the publishers, without having to cut in the retail middle man.

I’m not entirely adverse to DLC in principle, before anyone suspects that the following will be one long-winded one-sided tirade, but there are enough aspects of the model to make me stop and wonder if this is really the direction we want the games industry to take. If anything, I was something of an eager early advocate (just look at the list of stuff I’ve purchased from Xbox Live Arcade, the Wii Shop Channel and Steam), and have only recently realised that there are some serious considerations to… well… consider.

Increasingly there is an alarming trend to bring out so-called Day One DLC, where content is available, either at a price or free to people who preorder, from the moment a game hits retail. In some cases, even before that. When I see this, I have the same question form in my mind before I’m even aware of thinking it; why wasn’t this included on the game disk? I think it’s a fair enquiry. And I don’t really buy into any of the bullshit PR answers coming out of the various service providers, especially Microsoft whose Live Marketplace is especially prone to this kind of thing.

In fact, the phenomenon isn’t exclusive to Day One DLC. Very often an “expansion” pack comes out, be it a level or a character, which seems as though it should have been included from the start. When I first played through Assassin’s Creed II last year, I was infuriated to reach a point in the advanced stages of the game and be told that two segments of Desmond’s ancestral memories were “corrupted” and unplayable, having spent £80 on preordering the supposedly definitive Black Edition of the game. I immediately tweaked to the fact that this would be Ubisoft’s way of shoehorning DLC into what is a story-driven single-player experience, and therefore seemingly an unnatural fit to the DLC add-on model. I hadn’t seen any announcement about it, I hadn’t been aware that this happened in the game at all up to that point, but immediately it took me outside the gaming experience and filled me with intense irritation. This was further aggravated only recently with the release of the second of these cut sections of story, when an option was given to pay for a version of the download that includes the previously Black Edition exclusive tombs content. I paid a lot of money for the Black Edition to get content that is now being given away for a few hundred Microsoft points to anyone with the basic edition. It’s cynical, and makes you feel like an idiot for giving your early support to the game by spending the extra on the Black Edition. Essentially I have paid eighty quid for something because of content that now anyone can get for about two pounds, and I STILL don’t have the entire game, not until I pay even more for the two missions, which I can think of no good reason for cutting in the first place. Other than to make more money, of course.

I don't understand... what do you mean by "Am I paying too much for my horse insurance?" Aren't you just an NPC?

Worse than the blatant grasping for more of my increasingly slender quantities of uncommitted personal funds, is Bioware’s new policy of cutting content from the disk in order to offer it for free, but only to people who buy a new copy of their games, supposedly to cut down on their losses to the second-hand market and piracy. I’d be more sympathetic if Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 hadn’t been major releases that were guaranteed (and easily achieved) high sales figures, Mass Effect 2 in particular pushing 2 million copies in a week. There is, again, an air of cynicism, even dare I say, signs of EA’s stained fingers soiling the reputation of a very highly regarded company. And if I had been angry at Assassin’s Creed II for making it clear that I would have to pay more at a later date to complete the game, it was nothing to the vitriolic rush I got upon finding an NPC character standing in my party’s camp site in Dragon Age, trying to sell me DLC that was available right now from within the game itself, utterly shattering the illusion of immersion in the game world for the sake of 500 Microsoft points. Furthermore, nobody wins from it, as it has backfired on Bioware due to my reacting by vowing never to purchase that DLC pack. Those people who did click on the purchase option when it came up during their games better not tell me who they are either, as to my mind they’re excusing this sort of crap and ensuring it continues, and I’m liable to vent at them with equal rage to that I would direct at the people actively responsible. My previous review of Mass Effect 2 on this site was a long love-letter to Bioware; this is balance, and long overdue too. It seems that no company can go without doing something to spoil my pure appreciation of their work.

Unless you're blessed with a fantastic salary or handy with a crowbar and insulating tape, the Forza 3 DLC is probably the closest you'll ever get to driving this beast!

Not all DLC is quite so frustratingly obvious. It can be a great way of supporting a game’s community by releasing additional maps and missions months after a game is released, and breathe new life into a previously exhausted title. I’m especially happy to put my money down for Forza 3’s regularly adding additional cars and race tracks, because the game itself came with a lot of both in the first place, and it doesn’t feel like something was deliberately withheld from me so that I could buy it again later. Games with a strong multiplayer aspect similarly are complimented by additional online modes and maps to spice things up for veteran players.

As well as additional content, it is becoming more common for services to offer entire games through download, such as Direct-to-Drive, Steam, Impulse, and Live Games on Demand. The issue I take with this is simply that I personally like having something physical in my hands, that I can display in my collection and know is there whenever the whim catches me to play, without having to wait for download, or having to worry about how much space is free on my PC or console hard drive. It’s one thing to download a complete game that hasn’t been given a general retail release on disk, but I’ve an aversion to downloading a game that I can hold in my hands. Adding insult to injury is the matter of the pricing; in many instances, games are cheaper on disk, still new and unsealed too, in clearance sales, bargain bins, or through eBay than if I were to buy the downloadable copy.

But by far my biggest concern with downloadable content and games is whether or not I’ll always have them to hand. Let’s face it; the Xbox 360 is hardly a paragon of reliability. The consoles have an alarming tendency to die and leave a distinct red semi-circle behind. In April, Xbox Live will be dropping its support of the original Xbox console. What I would like to know is how this affects content bought from Live Marketplace. I don’t actually own an original Xbox, but what happens now will give a pretty clear indication of how things will likely proceed when it is time for the Xbox 360 to similarly be consigned to the past, and be superseded.

When you purchase content on Live, it is licensed to the console you bought it on, as well as your Live account. What this means is that you can play that content on the original console you bought it on, regardless of which gamertag you use, but if you want to play it on another console, you have to be signed into the online service with the gamertag that originally purchased it, so that it can verify you have a right to access that content. It is possible to transfer an XBLA or DLC license to a new console, but only once every 12 months, and it also transfers the license of all your content; the tool, Microsoft say, is to consolidate your purchases to your current console, so you can’t pick and choose what gets transferred.

This is one red light district we never want to see

This raises a question. What if, when Live support for the 360 ends, your console then dies and you replace it with another that you get cheaply on eBay so that you can continue to play your favourite 360 games? You could transfer over your hard drive from one console to the other, and retain your DLC and games in terms of data, but would it let you actually access them? Will the dropped support mean that you simply lose online multiplayer, or will it also mean that you can no longer transfer DLC licenses? And what if you own more than one console? I have a 360 in my bedroom, and one downstairs in the living room for the family to use. At the moment I can download content on the family box, meaning everyone can play it, and then verify my ownership on my personal Xbox via my gamertag and internet connection. When Live support ends, will it still verify my gamertag online and tell the second console that it’s okay to let me play my games? It’s not clear, and that worries me.

The Nintendo Wii has no such ambiguity. They openly state that if your console buys the farm, any content you buy from the Shop channel is gone forever unless you pay a second time, as you can’t transfer the content licenses to another machine. Admittedly the Wii is a much more reliable piece of hardware than the 360, but the possibility of hardware failure is still something that hangs over me whenever I decide to purchase a Virtual Console or Wiiware title.

I still play 30 year old Atari games, and 20 year old Nintendo and SEGA games. Nostalgia will strike, I’ll drag them out, dust them down, and start playing (admittedly, it helps if you take very good care of them, which I do, but not everyone would find it so simple to get their old games running). I want to know that I’ll be able to do that with my Xbox 360 games and content, in another 30 years time, assuming there’s a 360 on Earth that isn’t permanently red-ringed by that point. If downloadable gaming means that at some point the games I’ve bought will stop working, or become inaccessible, in comparison to the relative simplicity of loading a cartridge or a disk, I’m not interested in gaming becoming more and more drawn over from physical releases to digital.

DLC and downloadable games could potentially be a very good thing, for developers, publishers, and gamers. But in the rush to progress, I think its worth pausing for breath, and to make sure that it is done properly. I don’t want my games to just vanish into the internet void some day. If this model is to be more widely adopted, and some people are already claiming that it is the entire future for games releases, certain guarantees are going to need to be put in place to protect gamers. It also wouldn’t hurt if games companies stopped treating their customers with contempt for their collective intelligence by employing cynical marketing tactics, or excluding content obviously from games with the intent of making more money arbitrarily later on by packaging it as an add-on.

If done right, the only people who stand to lose out are GAME, Gamestation, and other stores that make a lot of money from the second hand disk market. And that’s hardly any loss at all.




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14 Comments

  1. Lorna says:

    The only day one DLC that I have experienced was with the Saboteur, which included a code which unlocked some boobage in the game itself. Gone were the nipple tassles and full on tittie titilation ensued. Also it opened up an area in the basement where your character could watch a topless burlesque private dance and play a few drunken games.

    It is annoying that if you pay for something as an exclusive carrot that it is released later anyway…though you also get folk crying from their side of the fence that they will not get to have the extras because they didn’t want or couldn’t afford the special edition set, etc. Can’t win!

    As far as digital downloads go, I’m not keen in the slightest. I despise not having actual media in my hands. I don’t want to have to rely on a patchy net connection for the ability to play a game that I have already paid for and downloaded or risk it simply vanishing into the ether as you have speculated. I think that physical media will still be around for a while, just that the publishers may make it harder for those of us who don’t want to jump, by perhaps increasing the prices.

  2. MarkuzR says:

    I hate DLC that’s just not worth the money. I’ve said countless times how ripped off I felt by the Fable 2 DLC that came out… to me, Knothole Island was just a chance to say “Ooooh look at the pretty snow!!” and then think “hmmm… am I not doing the SAME thing over and over again here??” until finally you unlock the final prize for completing the quest… the ability to change the weather at will. If, like me, you enjoyed the snowy look more than the flooded island or the “dry as a nun’s dreams” husk of an island… you’d just have flicked the switch back to being snowy… as it was when you first set foot on the island. Bit of a waste of time there.

    In contrast… I bought all the DLC for Burnout Paradise. The Cops ‘n’ Robbers DLC was crap, the Boost Special Cars was also a waste of money, but Big Surf Island and the Legendary Cars were priceless. I adore zooming around in the DeLorean or KITT and chucking myself off the Ski Jump on the island. Those two DLC packs were worth every point. Same goes for the Fallout 3 packs… Mothership Zeta was a let down as it was repetitive and confined, although I ADORED the Star Wars reference with the trash compactor scene… but the other packs – Operation Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel were all a joy to play… but none so much as Point Lookout. I still miss that place.

    I’ve never experienced Day One or Day Zero DLC though… but I would probably still buy it if I thought it was worthy of the spend. It’d have to be REALLY good though. Like… a KITT with a flux capacitor that you can park in your very own self-built garage tacked on to Frostcrag Spire. I’d go for that in a heartbeat.

  3. The Preacher says:

    @Lorna – I hope not, games are expensive enough as it is, with £55-£80 being seen as an acceptable range for special/limited/collector’s editions. With any luck they’ll just take a hit on the digital versions and lower the prices of downloadable titles to lure people over. At the moment most downloadable games are older titles that are cheaper elsewhere on physical media, which seems utterly counter-intuitive with regards to getting people to accept that payment model. Who is going to be stupid enough to pay a premium for something that is less secure? Madness…

    I’m going to hold out for actual disks as long as I can though. Despite my space issues, I like having a disk, as a display piece and so I don’t have to worry about downloading every time I want to play something I’ve not picked up for a while, and may even only play once or twice before the nostalgia passes.

    @Mark – Got to agree on the Fallout 3 DLC, especially Point Lookout, which might just be the best DLC released for any game, not just Fallout. I personally enjoyed Mothership Zeta though, with all the silly retro sci-fi references, and Star Wars/Star Trek jokes.

  4. Ben says:

    I was a 1/4 of the way through making a reply about why I’m warming up to Digital Distribution when this happened:

    http://www.vivagames.net/img/steam_offline.jpg

    That’s now rendered 3/4 of the PC games I’ve got installed unplayable, as well as access to around 30+ games I’ve got sat as “bought” in my Steam list.

  5. Rook says:

    I was surprised to read that content being withheld only to made available later for free should cause you any concern. You say that the withheld content only goes to people who buy a new copy of the game, and “supposedly to cut down on their losses to the second-hand market and piracy”. With this arguement, I can’t understand why it would irk you, unless you were playing a pirate copy or had already bought a pre-owned copy.

    Some of the extra content may not have been ready by the time the game was put to disc and then becomes available by the time launch occurs, and offering it free works well for me. It’s not as if Mass Effect 2 didn’t already have alot of missions and a great number of additional character to add to your party when on these missions. Providing more for free can only be a good thing. You say Mass Effect 2 sold 2 million cpies in a week, therefore Bioware have given 2 million customers free content. I’d say that was generous and something to appreciate rather be annoyed by.

    If this free content is to provide more to those who buy an original copy of a game as opposed to those who play pirate copies, then I say the games companies have a good plan to support those who actually buy the games. As for the second hand copies of games missing out on content, I don’t see a problem with that, you get what you pay for , and you’re not paying anything to the games companies.

    For example, when I bought Rock Band 2, the game came with 85 tracks on the disc, and the manual had a code which allowed you to download an additional 20 tracks FOR FREE. Now f I were to sell that game back to a games shop and they in turn sell it as a pre-owned copy, then the shop get all the profit from that. No money goes back to the publishers, developers, designers, etc. So why should the games companies provide that additional content for free, to someone buying the second hand copy, when they are getting no revenue from it themselves.

    You made some valid points about digital download, but I can’t understand why you consider additional content for free when buying a new copy of the game being worse that paying for DLC.

    @Markuz – don’t know if you intended it with you RROD image with the light shining on the number 9 and you using red light district, but I saw District 9 hidden in that image – maybe my mind works in strange ways

  6. The Preacher says:

    Rook, you’re working from the assumption that the free DLC is extra, whilst my argument is that if it’s available immediately from launch then it should have been part of the larger game and on the disk. It also ties into my later question about whether DLC is always going to be playable.

    If the content was on the disk, it’d always be playable. If something happens to your console after 360 Live support is dropped, even if you replace the console, you may not still be able to play it.

    I don’t care much what the reasoning is, this isn’t some freebie extra done out of the goodness of their hearts so much as content cut from the main game to try and screw second hand players and pirates, neither group I belong to, and therefore feel I shouldn’t have to be affected because of.

  7. Rook says:

    I got 50 hours of play out of my first playthrough on ME2 and couldn’t complain about the DLC not being on the disk. It’s an extra character (who’s a dick), and an extra mission with an additional achievement, none of which were pivotal to the main story. What about the next DLC for ME2 which is also due to be free to Cerberus Network users, do you think they should have delayed the release of the game to allow that to be put on the disk?

    If something were to happen to your console or hard drive after 360 Live Support has ended, then all your DLC is lost, including the Fallout 3 DLC you say you enjoyed. Do you think that DLC is a bad idea? Would you prefer additional content to be available on disk only, similar to Fallout’s add-on disks? If something were to happen to the disks, you might not be able to replace all your games either.

  8. The Preacher says:

    Side-quests that are unrelated, or only loosely related to the main story, as well as optional party members, have been part of RPGs for years now. Using your rationale, you could probably cut out a lot of the side-quests and party members that come on-disk in other roleplaying games, simply because they’re not pivotal to the story. If content is ready at release, it should go on the disk. For one thing, I spoke to someone a few days ago about Mass Effect 2, and I mentioned the Normandy crash site add-on from the Cerberus Network. They replied that since they’re unable to connect their console to the internet, and there are still people around who can’t, they haven’t been able to play that part of the game. This person was understandably frustrated. Just because it is relatively simple for most of us to get our consoles online, that by no means makes it ubiquitous and universal, as some developers and publishers seem to believe. So the argument that they’ve given content for free to 2 million players is bunk; just because someone bought the game, doesn’t mean that they got to use the free content. That’s profoundly unfair, and a form of class division between gamers with broadband access for their console, and those without.

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that I think DLC is a bad idea, for one thing, I stated quite the opposite. It is possible to support an idea in principle, yet have reservations and valid concerns for how it is put in place and operated. It’s certainly true that something can happen to render disks equally unplayable as any DLC that vanishes, but there’s a key difference in that. Firstly, I look after my own disks. That’s why I can still play my games that are several decades old. If other people don’t look after their games, well, that’s their lookout. The only way anything is going to happen to mine to make them unplayable is if my house burns down, or someone with a large truck burgles me and takes my collection on one of the very few occasions I’m not in. But with DLC, if it goes, it is because of someone else’s actions, either a built-in obsolescence, or because a company goes under or something. And the thought of that does not sit well with me.

    The best compromise I can think of is the way Stardock manage their own titles on their Impulse service. The games require Impulse and a registered serial code to update with patches, which slows down piracy and prevents reselling as the serial is a one time deal and then associated with your Impulse account, but when you purchase a game from them, they give you the option of paying an extra fiver or tenner depending on the title to get a physical copy mailed to you. I did this with them for Galactic Civilisations II, and it means I can download and install and update the game anywhere with a net connection, but I don’t need to be logged in to play as with Steam, and I have the disk there if their service is down or no longer exists the next time I go to install. It’s not perfect, as I’d still lose access to the game’s updates, but it’s still an attempt at guaranteeing my ownership of a game I’ve paid for, which is more than I can say for Steam or Live On Demand.

    Like I said, DLC is a good idea – IF done right. It has enormous potential. At the moment there are quite a few what I consider major flaws, and I know I’m not alone in thinking that. You may feel free to disagree with me Rook, you have that right of course, but I have to be honest. If you’re going to argue to the death in support of DLC without accepting it has flaws as it stands, AND that something should be done to rectify them, once it gets to the point where I just start to repeat myself, and where you still haven’t addressed my previous issues, the debate becomes pointless. I don’t expect you to answer all my questions and concerns, incidentally, it isn’t your job so far as I’m aware. When you note that all my DLC will be lost if Microsoft drop licensing recognition for the 360 from Live, that’s the point I’m making… unfortunately, you’ve missed it. I believe that Microsoft and other systems providers should put in place some kind of future guarantee that people will be able to play what they’ve paid for, instead of just accepting that the content will be lost.

  9. MarkuzR says:

    I wasn’t really going to put forward my opinion on “built-in” DLC, whether it’s day one or some way down the line as I’d already given that opinion on another site and hate regurgitating my thoughts when they’re so specific… but I do think it’s important to mention this, from the programmer point of view…

    If I was developing a game and knew that I’d be releasing additional quests/armour/locations etc further down the line then I’d include them on the disk from day one. When it came to those features being released, whether it’s a day or a month down the line, the person would purchase it as normal and they’d download nothing more than an exclusive unlocking code which is specific to them only. This doesn’t mean I’m cheating anyone by withholding something that was originally part of the game and then charging them money for it (which is how most people would see it) but, instead, I’d have thought far enough ahead to know that it’s much simpler to have everything in there at the time of testing to make sure that there are no glitches whatsoever and then toggle it off for release. It’s far simpler, and more stable, to provide a complete working model from the outset and simply unlock areas than to try and retrofit something that has been downloaded in its entirety which may have been subject to disturbance in transit and could corrupt the entire game. Similarly, downloading the entire content from scratch would more than likely mean that it’s prone to problems because it wouldn’t have been tested inside out and back to front whereas, as part of the original release, it would have been… probably!

    The other, less important but still noted, reason for providing the content on the original release with an unlock code is simple… save bandwidth and server congestion on the DLC release day. When I was invited to play Burnout Paradise for the first time on XBL I had to download a huge “patch” which, as I recall, was over 1Gb in size. Now, with me living in the sticks, this wasn’t an easy task and I had to skip playing that night as it didn’t even reach 50% by the time everyone gave up playing and went their separate ways. Ultimately, the download took me two days of deleting it and starting again as it kept halting for no particular reason that I could see.

    Imagine my dismay when, after downloading this ridiculously huge patch, my game was no different to how it was before. No functionality changes, no glitches fixed, no new vehicles… and no change log to find out WHAT I had actually spent two days downloading. It wasn’t until I decided to buy the Big Surf Island update that I realised what had happened… Criterion were forcing everyone to download this “patch” which was actually the entire Big Surf Island pack. On purchasing, it contacted the XBL servers to start the download… and immediately said “completed”. The reality is, I had just downloaded an unlock key.

    Now that’s good for ONE reason… it meant that, when it came time for me to actually purchase the DLC, there was no time involved in having to download the update… but that’s ONLY because I’d already downloaded it weeks before. The concept is good though – all you’re downloading is an unlock key which triggers content that you already have within your main game files. What Criterion COULD have done, however, is to include all the content within the game files as standard and then use the unlock method. It would mean that people such as myself wouldn’t have all the hassle of trying to download through a dodgy connection and it would mean that there’d be no rush to download 1Gb+ files from everyone wanting the content on release day, potentially crippling the XBL servers through forseeable congestion. I’m all for DLC being included from day one, then unlocked when it comes time to use it… but I can’t really comment on licenses expiring as it’d only be conjecture on my part.

  10. The Preacher says:

    It’s definitely a valid point, Mark. As you know I’m somewhat out in the middle of nowhere myself, so I had to wait a day for that Paradise City patch to download myself. Fortunately the connection didn’t time out and die mid-way forcing a manual delete and restart, but that has happened in the past.

    I’ve seen a few of these unlock code things around on Live; Eternal Sonata, Dead Rising, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, Halo Wars, and a bunch of other games I have all use them. Other games use the Paradise City model, in a modified form. Test Drive Unlimited, Ace Combat 6, and PGR 4 all have “free” DLC in addition to “premium” versions. You download the free pack, and get one free car or plane or whatever, but it’s kind of a trojan horse in that you also download all the content of the premium version at the same time, meaning that everyone can play online without content disparity, but you still have to pay to get access to the locked portions of the packs yourself.

  11. Rook says:

    Tits, piss and arse I had typed a bit of this and lost it due to a stupid mistake, let’s see what I can remember.

    I played Dead Space, and EA had decided to release an upgraded space suit for free which you could access through the in-game shop for free. The suit was a level 5 suit which came with more inventory slots than some of the suits you could buy with the in-game currency. One day my internet connection was down and I decided to play Dead Space. Now the game has no online modes whatsoever, yet because I didn’t have access to the net, the game would not allow me to load my save as it contained DLC. This adds weight to your argument Preacher, and I mention it because I am not saying the DLC is perfect, I admit it has flaws.

    If your net connection is down while playing Mass Effect 2, then you will lose access to the Cerberus network. You can, however, still play the downloaded content, or use the downloaded character in any other missions. The same works with Borderlands and it’s DLC. Dead Space is the only retail game I have played so far that I couldn’t continue due to not being connected to Live.

    You mentioned that your friend was frustrated at not being able to play the Normandy crash site mission. I too would have been annoyed if I didn’t have access to that. However, if you friend cannot connect his console to the net then he won’t have access to any DLC for any game. To clarify a previous comment: I did not say you thought DLC was a bad idea, I ASKED if you thought DLC was a bad idea. If you friend and others like him don’t have Live, does that mean we shouldn’t have DLC?

    Markuz has mentioned putting the content on the disk and using unlock codes. If we take Preacher’s concern that 360 Live support will someday end, then the ability to download these unlock keys is gone too. The unlock codes have been done before as well. Resident Evil 5 charged 400 Microsoft Points for an unlock code which gave you access to a Versus mode for 4 players. Being were outraged by this as they felt that if they have purchased the game, then they should have access to all content on the disk. I think there was unlock keys for Soul Calibur IV as well for additional characters. For Xbox 360 it was to unlock Darth Vader who was originally a PS3 launch exclusive. The download file for him is 7.79mb, don’t know if they could fit a skin in a file that size and put it over [Vader's] The Apprentice character or if that is just the unlock key.

    As for planning what content they will want to release in the future may not be able to be put on the disk for a few reasons. The disk may be full to capacity. Mass Effect 2 itself was so big that it couldn’t fit onto one DVD disk. Criterion didn’t know how successful Burnout Paradise would be as it was a different direction for them to th usual burnout games by making this one open world. Another would be, the developers waiting to see what aspects of a game get the most enjoyment and building additional content around that.

    With Criterion they did release alot of updates for the game for free. The patches that were coming out were getting bigger and it was because of how they had programmed the game. For some reason, they were unable to release patches on top of other patches and therefore when they released a patch, it contained the new stuff as well as the stuff from the previous patch. The never told us we could delete previous patches, so for a while I have hard disk space being taken up by older updates which were no longer required. The biggest being the patch that contained everything, patches and Big Surf Island and the unlock code being around 108kb.

    So there are flaws with downloadable content, I don’t dispute that. There have been many a time I have questioned whether DLC should have been available on the disk instead of paying for it. The reason I mentioned anything to start with is when you said that you thought that cutting the content (you can only assume it was cut and not know if it was developed as an after thought or DLC just being made available early) and releasing it for free was worse that paying for a special edition and the extra content from that being available for x amount of Microsoft points. Whether it was this launch day DLC, or the next DLC or the next, releasing it free and online is not something that is going to bother me. If I had to pay for launch day DLC, maybe I would be more aggrieved. Whether the content is on the disc or released as DLC, if it’s free, then I’m happy. If I worried that I couldn’t play something at a later time because 360 Live support will end someday, then I would be equally worried that I may not get to play every game I want before the Xbox 360 becomes obsolete.

    If the developers have found a way to release additional content and make it free to people who had bought their game first hand (meaning the developers have gotten money for their product) then I think that is perfectly acceptable. For anyone buying the game second hand, they can still buy the Cerberus Network (currently 1200 Microsoft points) and then get access to the additional content, meaning the developers are still making money themselves off their product. (as they got nothing from the sale of the pre-owned title).

    Geez, did I write more than the article itself. Maybe this was a better article than I thought and lives up to it’s title as it created this debate. Something I wouldn’t normally involve myself in as I don’t articuiate myself well in wordy form… or speaky form… or song… :D

  12. Rook says:

    The Big Surf Island update took me 12 minutes to download. As we’re sharing download times. :D

  13. The Preacher says:

    Despite not agreeing with everything you’ve said, I have enjoyed the feedback, a debate is what I’d hoped for. It’s just a shame that it’s limited to just us, heh. Truth be known, I do occasionally sound bellicose on purpose to provoke feedback, but it still doesn’t happen enough here yet. Perhaps when the site is more firmly established, and not just the same handful of people commenting on articles.

    No, you didn’t write more than the article… (probably looks like you did because the article is broken up by images, not a wall of text, heheh). Yes, you suck for having the ability to download a 1.2 gig patch in 12 minutes. And yes, feel free to argue with me any time. If I sounded irritable near the end of my response to you (the large one), it was just that I felt we were starting to repeat ourselves, and I’ve had a lot more pain in my side than usual the last couple of days, turning me grouchy. I appreciate the (somewhat backhanded, lol) compliment.

    …did I really just use “lol”? Good lord.

  14. Lorna says:

    There are some great points made by all here. I think in many cases, that it is perhaps impossible ahead of time to put something on the disk ready for release…space isn’t the only issue, but time is a big consideration. With many devs working to deadlines with publishers breathing down their necks and fans impatiently clamouring for the game, you can understand why they could not want to delay by shoehoring in extras. When is the line drawn? A month delay for this outfit, a few months for that level…the game may never get released.

    DLC on the whole I think is a good thing, although some folk most certainly take the royal piss. Some games have been accused of seeming like a level was sliced out of the original game, only to be sold back to players later…a complaint that I have heard levied at Tomb Raider: Underworld. Critereon on the other hand seem to have handled it woth aplomb…not only doing what they had no obligation to do and released FREE DLC, but also producing some top quality downloads. (Okay, we’ll gloss over Cops and Robbers).

    There will never be a perfect world as far as DLC goes…when there is an opportunity for cash to be made, the unscupulous will always gatecrash with the good guys.

    As for the scary thought of not being able to access content for purchased games at the end of a console’s life, it is admittedly disconcerting. I wonder if it has been considered by the powers that be…I also wonder if they have considered and planned for what will happen to those heady gamerscores, tags, and cards when the leap to the next generation is ready to be made….

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